Injunctive Versus Functional Inferences From Descriptive Norms Comment on Gelfand and Harrington
Cialdini has argued that whereas injunctive norms motivate behavior by their promise of social sanctions, descriptive norms motivate behavior by providing evidence as to what is likely a sensible thing to do. It is usually sensible to avoid others’ disapproval. Thus, descriptive norms should motivate behavior in part by providing evidence of what the injunctive norm may be. We use the framework of Gelfand and Harrington to discuss the importance of such injunctive inferences from descriptive norms.